MSA Sports Top 25 WPIAL Stories of 2012 Countdown – #20 through #16

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Saturday, December 29, 2012 | 10:51 PM


It has become a tradition like no other…at least during the holidays here at The Network. It's time to look back at another high school sports year with the top stories from around the WPIAL in 2012. We continue our countdown with the five stories that ended up #20 through #16.

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#20 – NORTH ALLEGHENY AND QUAKER VALLEY KEEP WINNING GOLD IN EXPANDED CROSS-COUNTRY

Back in March, a third classification in boys and girls cross country was added starting in the Fall of 2012. The WPIAL and PIAA has had only two classes in the sport, but the PIAA passed the addition of a third classification.

None of that mattered to the North Allegheny and Quaker Valley boy’s cross-country teams as they added more gold to their impressive resume.  

The North Allegheny Tigers made it 7 years in a row winning the WPIAL Class AAA cross-country championships, scoring 50 points and easily defeating Fox Chapel who scored 136 and Mount Lebanon with 175.  The Tigers had 5 runners in the top 14 for the convincing victory.   

In Class AA, the Quaker Valley Boys made it 6 titles in a row at the WPIAL Class AA Cross Country championships.  They scored 66 points, easily defeating second place Mars with 132 and South Fayette with 135. 

Not to be out done, the Quakers girls team won a fourth straight WPIAL Class AA team championship.

The seven straight District 7 titles leaves North Allegheny one short of the all-time consecutive championship mark of eight in a row, set by North Allegheny boys from 1990 through 1997. The Quakers fourth straight title ties the all-time girls mark set by the Quakers from 2001 through 2004.

#19 – GATEWAY GATORS GOLDEN AGAIN

Pittsburgh Central Catholic drove a big fancy Lincoln through the first three rounds of the district basketball playoffs all the way to the Bluff and Duquesne University. However Gateway turned that speedster into a vehicle that could not get out of first gear. The Gators shut down the Vikings 49-39 at the Palumbo Center to capture a second straight WPIAL Boys AAAA championship back in early March.

Vikings star Lincoln Davis, who averaged over 20 points per game during the regular season and was a big key to Central rising from the 12th seed to the title game, but the Gators put the clamps down on him. Davis ended up with only eight points on 2 of 10 shooting from the field, 4 of 8 shooting from the line and eight points before fouling out with 36 seconds left in the game. Davis didn’t hit his first shot from the field until 3:53 was left in the FOURTH quarter. By then, the Vikings were down by double digits with little hope for a major comeback.

There was promise of finally having a tight boy’s title game this weekend in the first quarter when there were two ties and the quarter ended with Gateway leading Central Catholic 12-11. But the Gators took control in the second quarter, scoring the first seven points of the stanza as Gateway outscored Central Catholic 16-3 to take a 28-14 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Mitch Adams’ team took further suspense out of the game when they opened the third quarter by scoring the first seven points again, building what would be their biggest lead of the game up to 21 points at 35-14. While the Vikings tried to make a run in the final quarter, they continued to struggle as a team beyond the arch and from the field in general as the Vikings ended up shooting just under 30% from the field for the game. The closest Central Catholic would get the rest of the game would be eight points at 43-35 with 78 seconds left.

Gateway was led by seniors Barnett Harris (14) and Tyler Scott (13), who combined for 27 points with a couple of highlight real slams for flash. Tom Kromka added 10 points for the Gators who improve to 20-6 and become only the second team in Boys AAAA history to repeat as basketball champions following in the footsteps o f the 1997, 1998 and 1999 New Castle Red Hurricane.

#18 – WPIAL GOLDEN GIRLS SWEEP STATE SOCCER TITLES

History was made at the PIAA girls soccer championships in more ways than one back in November.

Peters Township blanked Cumberland Valley 1-0 at Hersheypark Stadium on a Emily Franty goal to win the PIAA Class AAA championship.

Antonia Grese's goal at 15:16 of the first half was all Moon needed as they shutout the Archbishop Wood Vikings 1-0 to win the PIAA Class AA championship. The title is the Tigers first girls state soccer crown in school history, this after Moon lost to Mars in the District 7 finals.

Frannie Crouse and Malea Fabean each scored twice as Greensburg Central Catholic scored four second half goals en route to a 5-1 victory over Conwell-Egan in the PIAA Class A girls soccer championship game. Italia Bondi also scored for the Centurions, who after losing in the PIAA finals in 2005 and 2006, finally captured their first state soccer crown.

The Indians, Tigers and Centurions victories gave the WPIAL a golden sweep of the state soccer titles, a first ever for District 7.

#17 – SEWICKLEY ACADEMY BOYS LOVE TENNIS

Nine is definitely fine for the Sewickley Academy boys tennis team.

The Panthers celebrated their 9th consecutive WPIAL Boys Team Tennis Class AA championship in May with a victory over the Hampton Talbots 4-1. 

The nine consecutive title run is the longest in WPIAL tennis history and nearly double the second longest string, also captured by the Panthers from 1997 through 2001. Sewickley Academy continued an impressive district domination of a team sport with their 17th championship in the last 20 years.

#16 – CANON-McMILLAN AND BURRELL: KING OF THE MATS

In 2012, the district mat magic continued for Canon-McMillan in Class AAA and Burrell in Class AA.

After winning two straight WPIAL Championships, Canon-McMillan looked to join North Allegheny as the only team in District 7 Class AAA Team Tournament history to win three consecutive WPIAL titles. The Tigers tried everything they could to keep the Big Macs from joining them in the elite status in the finals in February.

After Canon-McMillan started the match with a fall by Cody Wiercioch (170), North Allegheny was able to grab a 9-6 lead after Jarred Lux (195) added a fall. But then it was all Big Macs. Canon McMillan would win six straight matches, with falls from Alex Campbell (220), Cody Klempay (285), and Colton Shorts (126), to take a 35-9 lead.

North Allegheny would get back on the scoreboard, as Jesse Rodgers (132) added a 3-0 win over Malachi Krenzelak at 132 to make it 35-12. However that would be the last time North Allegheny would come out on top in a match. Canon-McMillan would win the last four matches, including a fall by Sammy Minor (145), to give the Big Macs their third straight WPIAL AAA Championship with a 53-12 victory.

“Winning three straight titles is great for our wrestlers, coaches, and administration,” said Canon-McMillan head coach Chris Mary. “I want to perform our best every time we step on the mat. We haven’t had a let down and are peaking at the right time heading into the state tournament.” Mary added, “We are blessed with great wrestlers and awesome coaches.”

The Big Macs would go on to win the PIAA Class AAA team wrestling state title, becoming only the third WPIAL team to win a state crown.

A year removed from winning their fifth straight WPIAL Championship, Burrell came into the 2011-2012 season replacing seven starting seniors and a new head coach. But that did not stop the Buccaneers from keeping their WPIAL Championship streak alive.

The match started out with Jefferson Morgan taking a 25-0 lead. They received falls from Brendan Howard (106), John DeMaske (113), and Jason Miller (120). But Burrell came roaring back in a tremendous fashion. The Buccaneers would rattle off 20 straight points, with Steve Edwards (132) starting the win streak and Phillip Marra (138) adding a fall.

“Steve Edwards has been getting us going, setting the tempo for the middle of our order,” said Burrell head coach Bud Sines.

Jefferson Morgan would get back on the board, with a pair of decisions to take a 31-20 lead. But Burrell would answer, winning by technical fall at 182 and forfeit at 195 to tie the match, 31-31.

That led to the match at 220 to decide who would win the AA WPIAL Championship. After a scoreless first period, Cory Klems of Burrell and Ryan Mayfield of Jefferson Morgan would each pick up an escape to have a tie match at 1-1 in the third period. After both wrestlers battled on their feet, it was Klems who picked up the winning takedown with 20 seconds left to not only win the match 3-1, but also win the AA team title for Burrell 34-31.

“Cory is a quick, strong kid who wrestles the bigger kids well. I wasn’t concerned with Cory being out there,” said Sines.

The win gave Burrell its sixth straight WPIAL AA Championship. For head coach Bud Sines, this is his first. After the match he added, “I’m still in shock. I feel like I am riding a wave. This is a great program, an excellent community. The roots run very deep at Burrell. You can tell how much this means to these kids.”

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